Basic economics escapes Washington minds

It’s enlightening to note that, among John Ninfo’s “Top 20 Mistakes Made by People Who Have Filed for Bankruptcy,” 16 are regularly practiced by politicians.
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In 2006 when arguing whether to raise the national debt limit to about $9 trillion, then Sen. Barack Obama addressed the president and blamed the unsustainable debt on “leadership failure.”  He rightfully noted the opportunity costs of our debt and warned that foreign-held debt is a threat to our national security; then Sen. Joe Biden agreed.  He lamented the abandonment of the “common sense budgeting principle of balancing expenses and revenues.” Nevertheless, today our debt is twice the amount, having increased $6.65 trillion during the past five years alone.
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For decades, voters have rewarded those politicians who promise us the most, regardless of the impossibility of carrying out the promises.  We’re particularly susceptible to emotional appeals, and poverty has grown tremendously since war on it was declared.  Yet as far back as the 1980s, Walter Williams and others have repeatedly demonstrated how government programs keep people down; today’s second-generation welfare recipient knows no other way to survive.
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My wife and I are just a few hundred million shy of being wealthy.  But we are old enough to have witnessed a strong America, and we cannot turn our backs to our children and grandchildren who have not.
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Congress must finally create a balanced federal budget, with realistic projections, that includes a 30- to 50-year payoff of our insane national debt.
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Further, as demonstrated by the income tax code, decades of tinkering by pandering politicians will not fix the Affordable Care Act. Like the 16th Amendment, it must be repealed.
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Appeared (sans links) as letter to the editor in the Journal & Courier, February 18, 2014

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